‘Can I help you out with that trash?’
I heard a voice over my shoulder and, sure enough, when I looked up it was Gwyneth Paltrow on a break from up-dating her website, GOOP.
I knew very well she was being ironic. Certainly, she seemed quite tickled by the notion of it. So I left my chore and invited her into my mouse house.
After I’d washed my hands I got some fish fingers out of the fridge. They can defrost together, I thought as I welcomed her warmly.
Gwynnie is a piece of alabaster perfection and she can do long and short hair, as she showed us in Sliding Doors. I asked for some beauty tips, which she surrendered gracefully.
Nevertheless, she roundly dismissed my offer to paint her nails, with a snort through her elegant nose.
‘Do you prefer Luke or Owen Wilson?’ I asked, referring to her roles in the Wes Anderson films.
‘Oh, I couldn’t possibly choose between them,’ she replied coyly.
‘I could,’ I revealed. ‘Owen. More chamomile tea?’
We went for a walk around Ravenscourt Park so she could get some air. She seemed to relax a little but I have to admit I was quite annoyed because she was wearing sunglasses so no-one knew who she was.
She told me she thinks shampoo gives children cancer and that she bounces on a trampoline to sculpt the fabulous skyscraper heel legs that tell the world she’s sexy even though she’s the mother of Moses and a piece of fruit.
‘And Chris- well, he’s so talented. He takes his music very seriously,’ she opened up.
‘Do you think he takes quite a lot of stuff seriously?’ I asked, trying to widen my eyes.
‘No, not at all,’ she replied very seriously. ‘Chris has got a fantastic sense of humour. Just this morning over breakfast he was saying something really funny… Now what was that?’
I let her flail around like a weighted puppy for what seemed like an eternity before blowing the whistle and diving in with a basic bacon and egg gag, at which she laughed so hard I began to wonder if she really does find Chris a bit of a card.
I could tell right from the get-go that she wasn’t going to dish the dirt- she’s not desperate enough, having been born into fame and privilege.
So I took the liberty of switching off and playing ‘shag, marry, cliff’, teaming her up with Jennifer and Angelina, seeing as they all like a bit of Brad Pitt.
It was a no-brainer she was ‘marry’- hell, I’d already managed to spend a few hours in her company without really listening. The other two were easy as well: ‘shag’ Jen and ‘cliff’ Angelina (playing the rules by my original understanding of them, whereby ‘cliff’ is the person you are so crazy about you would be willing to jump off one with them).
When I came round, Gwynnie was talking about Anna Wintour and I regretted not paying attention. She said Anna started inviting her to lunches with John Galliano after her Oscar win and reckoned it was because the Queen of Vogue admired her work.
I let it slide. But it got me thinking about Shakespeare in Love.
‘Joseph Fiennes is quite intense but don’t you think his eyes are too close together?’ I asked, hungry for her professional opinion.
‘I was so blessed to work with Jo. He’s a giant of an actor,’ she replied.
‘Wow. Taller than Tim Robbins?’ I asked.
I think I got the wrong end of the stick but I knew she was relieved I didn’t allude to her acceptance speech debacle.
Instead, I praised her English accent and told her she was much better than Renee Zellweger, who sounds like she’s being goosed by the President but can’t let on.
Gwynnie found this remark distasteful. Angelina had warned me that she was a cut above but did I listen? No.
‘Have some of my Mum’s fruit cake with a thin layer of Lurpak butter on it,’ I suggested as she gathered her mobile phones to leave.
In reply to which- and oh, please God, may I never feel so wrong again- she gave me a look that still sends shivers down my spine.
‘I’m not sure I get you, Sophie,’ she said eventually, as she let two bodyguards help her on with her trainers. ‘But probing characters is my vocation so I’m going to take you to bed with me for a few nights to see what I can figure out.’
O.K, I thought.
As long as you don’t mind Jennifer Aniston joining us.